Image representing Photography (top-up)

Photography (top-up) - BA (Hons)

UCAS code W640

This is an archived page and for reference purposes only


This programme is designed to help you develop the confidence and skills to operate in a higher level job, or profession, where you can make decisions, solve problems and be in control of creative output.  It is also aimed at those who would like to start their own business or develop their own individual area of practice through a more in-depth study of photography.  The qualification is taught at West Kent College's University Centre in Tonbridge but is awarded and quality assured by the University of Kent.



Although this programme offers a natural progression route from the HND in Photography at West Kent College, we also welcome and encourage applications from students who have achieved a HND or foundation degree in photography or a related subject at another college or university. It will enable you to convert your Level 5 HND or Foundation Degree qualification into a Level 6 Bachelor's degree with this one year programme. 

The programme supports the use of a wide range of photographic, lens-based, techniques and approaches to produce creative imagery and you will be encouraged to develop professional practice to a very high standard in your chosen area.

Why study this programme?

The programme has a strong emphasis on individual and professional development and you will be encouraged to achieve a high standard in all areas and supported to make work of high conceptual and technical quality.

The teaching team are qualified and experienced in a range of theoretical, conceptual and practical aspects of the subject to facilitate and support individual student projects. You will be offered one-to-one tutorial support on a regular basis, and support from a technician and the Learning Resource Centre is available during self-directed study.

The College’s location near the mainline train station in Tonbridge facilitates trips to and from London.

Teaching Excellence Framework

All University of Kent courses are regulated by the Office for Students.

Based on the evidence available, the TEF Panel judged that the University of Kent delivers consistently outstanding teaching, learning and outcomes for its students. It is of the highest quality found in the UK.

Please see the University of Kent's Statement of Findings for more information.

TEF Gold logo

Course structure

The following modules are indicative of those offered on this programme. This listing is based on the current curriculum and may change year to year in response to new curriculum developments and innovation. 

You study the following three modules:

  • Advanced Professional Practice (30, 45 and 60 credit options)

Assignments include:

    • Creative Brief (15 credits)
    • Commercial Brief (15 credits)
    • Professional Presentation and Portfolio (15 credits)
    • Exhibition Brief (15 credits)
  • Dissertation (15, 30 and 45 credit options)
  • Major Project (45 credits). 

You will be required to choose module options which total 120 credits.

Teaching and assessment

Teaching is delivered through a series of lectures, seminars, discussions, group work/exhibition planning, tutorials and workshops.

The programme typically involves an average of 12 timetabled hours over two to three days per week during term time. 

This is a full-time programme and you will be expected to dedicate approximately 24 hours per week to self-directed study to carry out research and assignment work outside of timetabled classes. 

You will be encouraged to work in the College outside of timetabled classes, when there will be support available from photographic technicians and Learning Resource Centre staff.

Work is assessed by assignment and presented at group critique on a continuous basis throughout the programme. You will be required to present your work in a professional manner and to field questions from your tutors and colleagues on the programme.

Equipment needed

Photographic equipment is available to borrow from the College. However, at this level of study you will be expected to have your own basic equipment that you like to use.

A reading list will be available before the start of the programme. An introduction to the dissertation will be sent to you during the July before entry to enable you to begin background reading and research in a proposed topic.

Contact Hours

For a student studying full time, each academic year of the programme will comprise 1200 learning hours which include both direct contact hours and private study hours.  The precise breakdown of hours will be subject dependent and will vary according to modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Methods of assessment will vary according to subject specialism and individual modules.  Please refer to the individual module details under Course Structure.

Programme aims

The programme aims to: 

  • Widen participation in Higher Education by providing a progression opportunity for HND/FD achievers to gain a BA (Hons) in Photography.
  • Support and encourage learners to further develop their artistic, professional and personal approach to the subject through the provision of high quality teaching, guidance and learning within a creatively stimulating and well-resourced environment.
  • Offer opportunities to capable learners, regardless of culture, background, learning difficulties or disability, to develop academically and creatively within the medium.
  • Increase learners’ knowledge of photography with regard to historical and contemporary issues and contexts so as to further develop critical and analytical skills and provide an intellectual basis for the understanding of attitudes, issues and debates within contemporary visual culture.
  • Foster independent learning and encourage the ability to begin to work in an autonomous and professional manner.
  • Enable learners to understand photography’s place within visual culture and facilitate their ability to place their own work in an appropriate context.
  • Produce graduates who have a sound intellectual understanding of the structures and institutions of photographic practice and who are well equipped with a range of knowledge, skills and techniques to carry the practice of photography forward both professionally and with regard to further study and research.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

You gain a knowledge and understanding of:

  • The historical evolution of art, design, photography and related media and genres such as film and video. 
  • The significance of the works of other photographers, artists and designers.
  • Visual communication and the use of visual language.
  • The application of appropriate methodologies to critical analysis and ideas development. 
  • Research methods and synthesis, and the appropriate presentation of findings and analysis. 
  • Professional photographic materials, techniques, processes and materials and their application within a range of creative contexts.
  • Historic and contemporary forms, processes and techniques and how these might be challenged or advanced.
  • The implications and potential of key developments in current and emerging media and technologies. 
  • The relationship between photographic techniques and processes and different aesthetic effects and experiences.
  • Contemporary professional practice and the relationship of photographers with audiences, clients and consumers.
  • Knowledge and understanding of the role and impact of intellectual property within photography and creative practice.
  • The contexts and concepts relating to photography and its place within contemporary visual culture together with the development of critical theory and its application within contemporary photographic practice.

Intellectual skills

You gain the following intellectual skills:

  • The synthesis of ideas and concepts from the work of others and from historical, cultural and contextual references. 
  • The generation, development and evaluation of ideas in response to themes or tasks. 
  • The use of appropriate techniques and conventions to visually represent a range of objective and subjective information, meanings and messages.
  • The effective articulation of knowledge, understanding, attributes and skills in the contexts of professional practice, further study, research and personal development.
  • The undertaking of effective self-directed research using appropriate resources and methods.
  • The visual, oral and written presentation of ideas and concepts.
  • The interpretation, articulation and analysis of ideas and information through the use of visual language.
  • The critical analysis and evaluation of the work of themselves and others. 
  • The demonstration of critical thinking and analysis skills through the presentation of arguments and conclusion.

Subject-specific skills

You gain the following subject-specific skills:

  • The effective generation of ideas, concepts, proposals and solutions independently in response to briefs as self-initiated and collaborative work.
  • Employ both convergent and divergent thinking in the processes of observation and visualisation.
  • The use of visual language within photography through the ability to use techniques and materials in an intuitive way to convey intended meanings and messages.
  • The application of appropriate technical and practical skills relating to a broad range of photographic techniques for studio and location work.
  • The effective demonstration of professional practice and presentation skills.
  • The selection, testing and use of appropriate materials, processes, techniques and environments with an understanding of ideas of quality.
  • The application of ethics, resourcefulness and entrepreneurial skills in support of their own professional practice.

Transferable skills

You gain the following transferable skills:

  • Self-development – the ability to manage own roles, responsibilities and ethical applications; to study independently; to manage own time in achieving objectives; to undertake personal and career development; to transfer skills gained to new and changing situations and contexts; to identify personal strengths and needs. 
  • Collaboration – the ability to relate to and interact effectively with individuals and groups; to work effectively as a team member; to undertake collective endeavour and negotiation; to accurately define and review the work of others; to treat others values, beliefs and opinions with respect.
  • Communication – the ability to organise, analyse and evaluate information effectively; to articulate ideas and information effectively in visual, oral and written forms; to present ideas and work to audiences in a range of situations.
  • Management – the ability to select and use a variety of information sources; to identify and solve a range of routine and non-routine problems; to work within given timeframes and deadlines; to self-identify professional development, entrepreneurial and enterprise opportunities. 
  • Technology – the ability to research, source, navigate, use, select, receive, evaluate and respond to a variety of information from a variety of sources; to select and use a range of technological equipment and systems; to select and effectively employ appropriate communication and information technologies. 
  • Creativity – the ability to apply a range of skills and techniques to develop a variety of ideas in the creation of new/modified and potentially innovative photographic solutions; to use a range of thought processes to identify and define intellectual and practical tasks; to articulate reasoned arguments through reflection, review and evaluation.
  • Flexibility – to develop skills of perseverance, openness, empathy, citizenship and adaptability in the face of emerging creative problems, issues and contexts.


You will develop a strong foundation of technical skills, knowledge and creative approaches required for employment or progression to postgraduate study in the areas of photography, and other related subjects.

Some graduates of this programme have progressed to postgraduate study and teacher training, whilst others have embarked on careers such as medical photographer, freelance/agency photographer, gallery creative director, gallery owner/assistant and roles in photography businesses.

Entry requirements

Applicants should hold a Foundation Degree or HND in photography or a related discipline at Merit or Distinction level.

The College will also consider applicants who have completed 240 credits in a degree programme in photography or a related discipline with achievement equivalent to a Merit profile in a Foundation Degree or HND.

Home/EU students

The University will consider applications from students offering a wide range of qualifications. Typical requirements are listed below. Students offering alternative qualifications should contact us for further advice. 

It is not possible to offer places to all students who meet this typical offer/minimum requirement.

New GCSE grades

If you’ve taken exams under the new GCSE grading system, please see our conversion table to convert your GCSE grades.

Qualification Typical offer/minimum requirement
Access to HE Diploma

See above

BTEC Level 3 Extended Diploma (formerly BTEC National Diploma)

See  above

International students

International students cannot be admitted to this programme at this time due to visa restrictions.

English Language Requirements

Please see our English language entry requirements web page.

Please note that if you are required to meet an English language condition, we offer a number of 'pre-sessional' courses in English for Academic Purposes. You attend these courses before starting your degree programme. 

General entry requirements

Please also see our general entry requirements.


The 2019/20 annual tuition fees for this programme are:

UK/EU Overseas

For details of when and how to pay fees and charges, please see our Student Finance Guide.

For students continuing on this programme, fees will increase year on year by no more than RPI + 3% in each academic year of study except where regulated.* 

Your fee status

The University will assess your fee status as part of the application process. If you are uncertain about your fee status you may wish to seek advice from UKCISA before applying.

Additional costs

A materials fee is payable for each year of the programme to cover the cost of equipment maintenance and the supply of basic materials, including film stock, chemicals and printer ink. This fee is currently set at £50 per year.

You will need to budget for the cost of photographic materials, presentation and framing. The scale of this cost will greatly depend on the nature of your work and how it is presented, since some production and mounting methods incur a greater cost than others. As a guide, the College estimates an average cost of £500, although some students will spend more than this whilst others will spend substantially less.

Trips to London galleries and events are an integral part of the programme and the College will organise one trip during the course of the year. We advise you to budget approximately £50 for this trip to cover travel and admission costs. See also 'equipment needed' under the 'teaching and assessment' section. 

Contact West Kent college for more information about accommodation and living costs


For more information about funding, please see the West Kent College website.